NFL picks and predictions, Week 1: Chargers favored over Chiefs to kickoff season
By Jacob Harris
A new round of NFL picks and predictions are in for Week 1 and the Chargers are heavily favored over the Chiefs by most experts.
It’s been a roller coaster of an offseason for the Kansas City Chiefs. Patrick Mahomes is the new leader of an offense that promises to be one of, if not the most explosive unit in the league. But also Marcus Peters is gone, and the secondary has looked everywhere between “not good” and “could probably get toasted by my local high school team, and they average roughly 32 yards a game”.
Sammy Watkins and Anthony Hitchens were two major additions in free agency. But also Watkins and Hitchens were paid a whole lot of money for hypothetical future production based on very little evidence. Patrick launched the preseason shot heard ‘round the world against the Falcons, which is very, very cool. But Patrick has also officially been given “Showtime” as a nickname, which is very, very lame.
Much like a real roller coaster, this has resulted in a lot of excitement about the 2018 Chiefs among both fans and the national sports media. Also much like a real rollercoaster, this has also resulted in an unsettling anxiety rumbling deep in the gut of everyone who watched the Chiefs secondary get torched by the Bears backups in the preseason.
This is reflected in the early prognostication of NFL experts around the media, both in their feelings on the Chiefs’ season as a whole and their prospects this Sunday in Los Angeles.
Three of the nine experts at ESPN have the Chiefs going over the Chargers. Matt Bowen, Mina Kimes, and Louis Riddick are the analysts going against the consensus there, though Riddick’s Chiefs love shouldn’t be to surprising, as he’s been openly all-in on Patrick Mahomes all offseason.
[Insert condescending joke about Pete Prisco here]
Ryan Wilson is the lone voice in favor of the Chiefs at CBS. CBS is one of the more lopsided expert panels in favor of the Chargers, with seven votes for a Chargers victory.
SI stands as the most split on week one, with three of their seven experts picking the Chiefs. Mitch Goldich, Johnathan Jones, and Bette Marston all foresee a Chiefs victory, though they aren’t enough to swing the consensus.
The gut reaction among Chiefs fans here is likely a sarcastic laugh and a snide remark about having beaten the Chargers regularly and consistently in recent seasons. Which, yeah, valid. But the Chiefs also have a brand new quarterback and a half-remodeled defense. The Chargers are more of a known quantity right now, and they’re a known quantity that’s been very good when healthy. They’re the safe pick.